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The return of the County Championship was overshadowed by the IPL and England’s match against the West Indies but the next six months should be cherished. Here are six talking points from the first round of fixtures
Ball One: The County Championship arrives with a murmur
Shuffling into view, nodding towards its sensible big brother, Test cricket (England in the Caribbean on Sky), and averting its gaze just a little from its blinged up little brother (the IPL in India, on television, online and possibly beamed into space should there be potential Pepsi customers on the International Space Station) comes the County Championship, the Champo to its friends, the 1950s-style nickname suiting it well. As usual, the Champo was met with indifference from those distracted by more immediately appealing fare, but for those to whom it matters, the feeling engendered by its arrival was something more akin to love. Somehow it’s still here and will be until September – so let’s cherish it while we still can.Continue reading...
• Luka Modric set to miss six weeks due to knee ligament strain
• Bring back Bale, the galáctico who can win you the Premier League
Gareth Bale looks set to miss Real Madrid’s Champions League quarter-final second leg match against Atlético Madrid with a calf injury.
The Welsh forward lasted just a few minutes before limping off during Real’s 3-1 home victory over Málaga on Saturday.Continue reading...
• Ferrari’s Maurizio Arrivabene denies team are interested in British driver
• ‘Every driver wants to drive for Ferrari, this is normal,’ says Arrivabene
• Hamilton cruises to victory in Bahrain to extend F1 lead
The Ferrari team principal Maurizio Arrivabene has said the team have no plans currently to approach Lewis Hamilton to drive for them amid speculation he could replace Kimi Raikkonen. Hamilton is yet to sign a new deal with Mercedes.
Instead, Arrivabene has challenged Raikkonen to raise his game in the wake of an indifferent start to the Formula One season in which he has struggled to replicate his team-mate Sebastian Vettel’s pace. In Sunday’s Bahrain Grand Prix, Raikkonen did exactly that, finishing on the podium for the first time in 26 grands prix as runner-up to Hamilton.Continue reading...
• Supporters raise funds within three days of launching plans
• Tangerines fans protest against chairman before Reading match
Blackpool fans have raised over £20,000 in three days for a pensioner who must pay damages to the club after being threatened with court action over allegations he made on Facebook about the Oyston family.
Frank Knight, 67, made comments online about the Blackpool chairman Karl Oyston and the owner Owen Oyston, but was forced to apologise and pay a five-figure sum to prevent the matter from going to court.Continue reading...
• Glamorgan v Surrey; Sussex v Worcestershire; Nottinghamshire v Yorkshire
Richard Gibson reports from Nottinghamshire v Yorkshire
Tall, dominant, disengaged England batsman scores bucket load of runs to promote case for future reassessment of international credentials. That was the script this week, right?
Today we have Ali Martin at Glamorgan v Surrey, Paul Weaver at Sussex v Worcestershire and Richard Gibson at Nottinghamshire v Yorkshire.
Alex Hales gives England reminder with rapid double-century for Notts
The first double hundred of Alex Hales’ career helped Nottinghamshire into a position of strength on the opening day of their County Championship match against Yorkshire at Trent Bridge.
Sussex stand-in Matt Machan hits rapid century
Matt Machan would not have played for Sussex against Worcestershire here on Sunday but for Michael Yardy falling ill the previous day and Chris Nash going down with a hamstring injury. There was a sudden frailty to the Sussex top order but Machan, who appeared in just seven Championship matches last season, dispelled any uneasiness in the home dressing room by playing an extraordinary innings.
Kevin Pietersen left frustrated after scoring only 19
If Kevin Pietersen is truly locked in battle with England’s middle-order for an Ashes berth this summer, then round one has gone to the incumbents. After Gary Ballance, Ian Bell and Joe Root each delivered in excess of 100 runs in last week’s drawn Test against West Indies in balmy Antigua, it was over to the 34-year-old batsman, who believes he can force his way back into the international XI, to respond with runs in chilly Cardiff.
The marathon world-record holder has finally overcome a debilitating foot injury and will allow herself to drink in the memories – good and bad – with the elite club runners in her last meaningful tilt at the London circuit
• Sean Ingle: Radcliffe deserves rousing send-off in London Marathon
“It’s not quite revenge,” Paula Radcliffe says as she prepares herself for one last concentrated tilt at the London Marathon on Sunday. “But it’s almost as if, OK, this race is on my terms. I will run London once more. Even if it’s not at the speed I would like I’ll still be doing this marathon for me. It feels right because of all the good things that have happened to me in London and, also, because there were so many times when I couldn’t run the race while injured. The one that hurt, especially, was London 2012 when I had to pull out of the marathon.”
Radcliffe is such a vivid interviewee that it does not take long for her to describe a series of memories which are nostalgic and brutal, euphoric and painful. She has not run in London since 2005, when she won the marathon for a third time, but the race is a rich part of her life. Before she reaches the sporting glory and physical agony of 2003, when she set a world record of two hours 15 minutes and 25 seconds, in a seemingly “impossible” time which has not been threatened since, Radcliffe evokes the poignant meaning of the London marathon to her.
This is the last one where I’m preparing properly. I don’t know how far my foot is going to hold up
I feel Gatlin is laughing at people … if you break the rules you should not be able to come backContinue reading...
Tony Paley: One of racing’s regular supporters, the Stobart Group, has been unveiled as the official sponsor of the 2015 Flat jockeys’ championships. The deal has been agreed on a one-year basis, with an option to renew.Continue reading...
• Silva clashed with West Ham’s Cheikhou Kouyate
• Manchester City 2-0 West Ham: match report
Manchester City have revealed that David Silva did not suffer any fractures in Sunday’s Premier League victory over West Ham.
Silva was taken to hospital for checks on his cheekbone and collarbone after being caught in the face by an elbow from the West Ham midfielder Cheikhou Kouyate at the Etihad Stadium. The 29-year-old required around eight minutes of treatment on the field before being carefully lifted onto a stretcher and carried off.Continue reading...
• The Tour de Yorkshire begins in Bridlington on 1 May
• Wiggins hits end of the road for Team Sky on Paris-Roubaix cobbles
Sir Bradley Wiggins’ participation in the inaugural Tour de Yorkshire has been confirmed. The four-time Olympic champion, who left Team Sky after the Paris-Roubaix race on 12 April, will ride for his eponymous team in the 1-3 May race, organisers have announced.
Wiggins, the 2012 Tour de France winner, was not selected in Team Sky’s 2014 squad for the race when it began in Yorkshire.Continue reading...